Our daughter Sarah, purchased a puppy about a year ago. That puppy had cancer and passed away at about nine months old. Sarah now has a successful career that includes some travel, and raising a puppy wasn’t really an option. As a result, Jenny and I are raising this little Golden Doodle (why are the dogs in my house always identified as doodles?).
You forget how hard it is to house train and raise a puppy. You get up a few times in the night to teach them what happens outside, shouldn’t happen inside (so far so good). You teach them where they can run and play, where they are to sleep, how and what to eat. You begin using their name, not nicknames, so they will learn to answer your call. You affirm them when they do well and you do not affirm their mistakes. On and on is the life of raising a puppy.
As I was so “joyfully” taking our puppy Kirby out this morning at about 4:00 am, I thought how similar a puppy’s life is to our lives as we try to grow more like Jesus day by day. It’s not easy, it requires consistency and it has a massive return on the investment. Here are four lessons that I was reminded of at 4:00 am (just bless the Lord).
- We need to know what happens in the house (church) and what happens outside the church (the grace, mercy and love learned inside). We need to grasp the fact that what happens in the house, around the house and for the house are simple chores. But what happens outside the house is where we prove what we really believe is important. Ah-Ha number 1 – When we are part of a great church, we are encouraged to serve greatly outside of the church walls.
- We need to take on the discernment and wisdom from Heaven, and chooose wisely as to where and what we play with. One of the reasons that Jesus left His Holy Spirit, was to give correction, direction and affirmation as we grow to become more like Him. When He sends up a red flare inside our soul, that warns you what to do and not to do…LISTEN! It will save years and years of conflict and suffering.
- We need to choose wisely when you choose where we will lay our head down for the night. If we are to be peacemakers in our home, there will be peace as we lay our head on the right pillow. If you are married, faithfulness is tested every single day. Be sure to remember where you belong come bedtime, and you’ll save you, your spouse, your children and your friends the heartache of having to pick up the pieces of a shattered heart.
- We need to spend time every day with the Divine. The more we chat with the Creator, the more we know His name and can answer His call. I firmly believe that every morning, God is waiting on His kids to arise (even if in a morning fog) and walk with us, encourage us, teach us, and love us. Don’t choose a nickname for the Divine. He is so much more than “the man upstairs.” He is not what you place in front of the word damn. He is the Creator, Sustainer, Healer and Provider of the Universe. It is in His hands that the universe sits. That is why it is vital to spend time with Him every day of our lives.
We all have times when we are a bit like Kirby, the puppy. But there must come a time when the puppy sits down and the spiritually mature adult stands up. If you remain a puppy, cute becomes weary, clumsiness becomes awkward, and puppy food becomes bland. Choose to grow out of spiritual puppy-land and venture out into the life that God has called you to!
Happy Tuesday, Chuck